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Israel Launches Offensive in Gaza; Kills Hamas Leader

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--- Quote ---JERUSALEM ? A diplomatic push to end Israel's nearly weeklong offensive in the Gaza Strip gained momentum Tuesday, with Egypt's president predicting that airstrikes would soon end, the U.S. secretary of state racing to the region and Israel's prime minister saying his country would be a "willing partner" to a cease-fire with the Islamic militant group Hamas.

As international diplomats worked to cement a deal, senior Hamas officials said some sticking points remained even as relentless airstrikes and rocket attacks between the two sides continued. The Israeli death toll rose to five with the deaths Tuesday of an Israeli soldier and a civilian contractor. More than 130 Palestinians have been killed.
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Seeing the push for a cease-fire continue is a good sign. Hamas and Israel may still be differing in their opinions, and the attacks are still continuing, but at least they are both at the bargaining table, rather than running away from a diplomatic solution and increasing use of military force. If they can come to an agreement and put and end to this before it gets out of hand, then it's all for the better. I agree with the Obama Administration that Israel has a right to defend itself, and that a ground invasion would raise the death toll needlessly. If both sides can come to an agreement by the end of the day tomorrow, then this can end at the one week mark, and hopefully bring some stability back to the region for the time being.


--- Quote ---GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip ? Israel and the Hamas militant group agreed to a cease-fire Wednesday to end eight days of the fiercest fighting in nearly four years, promising to halt air strikes and rocket attacks that have killed scores and to discuss easing an Israeli blockade constricting the Gaza Strip.

Cheering Gazans emerged from their homes after a week, flooding the streets in wild celebration. Gunmen fired in the air, and chants of "God is Great" echoed from mosque loudspeakers. Residents hugged and kissed in celebration, while others distributed candy and waved Hamas flags.
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Full article here

I'm glad to hear hostilities have ended for now. I'm actually surprised that Israel is willing to open its borders with Gaza. Still, if things work out, then it's all for the better. Maybe this team peace will last longer in the area. The threat of a potential ground invasion still looms for the time being, but for now, maybe the area can begin to put itself back together. With any luck, further military action will be avoided, and peace maintained.

I'm glad to hear they managed to arrange a cease-fire. I really do hope it lasts


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